50 Years of Peace & Music | Introduction

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival, August 1969–2019

A monthly blog series about the musicians of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair

For 32 months, from January 2017 to the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival in August 2019, we will post the story of the 32 musical acts that performed at the most famous rock festival in history. Visit us here on the first Thursday of every month between now and August 2019.

Woodstock brought together some of best musical acts of the era—Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Santana, Ten Years After, Sly and the Family Stone, and many more. The media attention before and during the three-day festival made Woodstock famous around the world, and the three-hour documentary released in 1970 made international stars of all the groups featured in the movie. Not all the performances were featured in the film. Whether because of time limitations, technical problems with sound, filming, or lighting, or because of misunderstandings among performers, managers, and film production people, a number of exceptional performances went virtually unnoticed by the public.

In an effort to set the record straight and give all the performers their due for their contribution to the Woodstock festival, this blog series shines a spotlight on ALL of the musical performers from those three days of peace and music.

A special “thank you” goes out to the musicians who have graciously shared their stories for this blog series. We are also grateful to the photographers who have allowed us to use their photographs here. Volunteer docents at The Museum at Bethel Woods have contributed greatly through their research and dedication to the true meaning of Woodstock. Finally, a shout-out to Scott Parker, an independent historian of the Woodstock festival and one of the driving forces behind the grassroots Woodstock Complete project (Google it. It’s amazing) for setting the record straight on performance times and set lists. Thank you all.

Day 1: Friday, August 15, 1969 (ending Saturday morning, August 16)

  1. Richie Havens (posted January 5, 2017)
  2. Sweetwater (posted February 2, 2017)
  3. Bert Sommer (posted March 2, 2017)
  4. Tim Hardin (posted April 6, 2017)
  5. Ravi Shankar (posted May 4, 2017)
  6. Melanie (posted June 1, 2017)
  7. Arlo Guthrie (posted July 10, 2017)
  8. Joan Baez (posted August 7, 2017)

Day 2: Saturday, August 16, 1969 (ending Sunday morning, August 17)

  1. Quill (posted September 11, 2017)
  2. Country Joe McDonald (solo) (posted October 6, 2017)
  3. Santana (posted November 7, 2017)
  4. John Sebastian (posted January 3, 2018)
  5. Keef Hartley Band (posted August 7, 2018—sorry for the gap, but we’ll try to catch up)
  6. Incredible String Band (posted August 7, 2018)
  7. Canned Heat (posted August 8, 2018)
  8. Mountain (posted August 8, 2018)
  9. Grateful Dead (posted August 8, 2018)
  10. Creedence Clearwater Revival (posted August 8, 2018)
  11. Janis Joplin (posted August 8, 2018)
  12. Sly & The Family Stone (posted August 8, 2018)
  13. The Who (September 6, 2018)
  14. Jefferson Airplane (posted October 4, 2018)

Day 3: Sunday, August 17, 1969 (ending Monday morning, August 18)

  1. Joe Cocker (posted November 1, 2018)
  2. Country Joe & The Fish (posted December 6, 2018)
  3. Ten Years After (posted January 3, 2019)
  4. The Band (posted February 7, 2019)
  5. Johnny Winter (posted March 7, 2019)
  6. Blood, Sweat & Tears (posted April 5, 2019)
  7. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (posted May 2, 2019)
  8. the Paul Butterfield Blues Band (posted June 6, 2019)
  9. Sha Na Na (posted July 5, 2019)
  10. Jimi Hendrix (to be posted August 2019)

Wade Lawrence

Director & Sr. Curator, The Museum at Bethel Woods

Wade Lawrence – who has written posts on WoodsTalk | Bethel Woods Center for The Arts.

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36 Comments on “50 Years of Peace & Music | Introduction

  1. My wife and I will arrive on anniversary weekend from Germany. We already have tickets for Friday and Saturday. We hope to get also tickets for the 3rd day with John Fogerty. In 1969 we were 13 years old. And since that time, the spirit of Woodstock has never let us go. We look forward to the August and a great event.

  2. I was 13yrs in 1969 and wanted to go sooooo bad! Parents thought I was crazy……..
    The waiting is over…..I’m there!! Campground booked, waiting for Saturday’s Santana Doobie Bros, tickets to go on sale hoping not super expense✌

  3. I am from Australia, I was unable to attend the original Woodstock due to the fact that I had just been born!!! My husband and I were very fortunate to be living in Philadelphia at the time of the ’99 festival and it was there that I celebrated my 30th birthday!!!! Even though it had its dramas, I felt very privileged to be there! This year is (obviously) my 50th birthday, we will be there with bells on, yes, all the way from Australia!!!

  4. when tickets for the 50 th anniversary go on sale, how will bethel prevent the professionals from scooping large blocks of tickets and reselling them at inflated prices. I already see these people advertising for tickets for sale at big premiums to the original price. this beautiful event can easily turn into a big money making scam by the few who have the technology to inflate the event. what a shame.

    • Howard, unfortunately your premonition has come to fruition. Back in the day scalpers were arrested. What happened to common decency?

  5. Will season 2019 pass holders have access to 50th or do we need to buy tickets? Or do we get a discount if we do have a season lawn pass? I can’t get a straight answer & don’t want to miss out on getting into the event. Can’t wait!!

  6. I was there in 69, want to return. Will there be 1 day tickets for the lawn? Will tickets be a fortune? When will we know schedule; and ticket info

  7. I have a self contained motorhome. Will there be a section for us?

  8. Hello. I worked as a volunteer in 1999 festival and would like to be part of the medical staff team. How can I apply?

  9. Could you tell me information about price for 50th Aniversary woodstock festival. Can I stay there the whole time if I bring a tent or what?

      • Hi Wade I attended the volunteer meeting last Saturday morning I am very interested in meeting with you to discuss plans for the. Long awaited event I attended Woodstock 50 years ago and think I can add a lot to making this long awaited success please contact me

      • When it is established would you let me know I am veteran of the first the original 1969!
        I was 16 me and a few of my friends heard about a party had no idea of how big the party we were about to encountered would be . I could go on but let’s leave it at that.
        So I really would like to be there and share the past with the future as all of the people that attended the blessed event are in the dusk of their lives .

    • I was 16 when I attended in 1969. No ticket, no money, the clothes on my back, hitched a ride then walked until I stepped over the fence. Slept in the rain on the top of the hill, dried out in the sun. I was pulled under the stage during the bad storm where I met a man who hitched from California with a goat. Found an abandoned vw van and a box of crackers and a tub of butter at the General store that held me over. I don’t remember how I got back to Connecticut.

  10. I was 13 at the original 1 and only woodstock.There was meaning behind it such as showing the world that we could have a peacefull and togetherness event.It was about the music but also a way to voice our feelings.About the social unrest going on,vietnam and college demonstrations.Where we were being killed for our feelings on vietnam and such.But i would love being at the 50th if it meant the same to promoters as the original.But its to much corporate greed to them now.It was one of my most memorable experiences.And i hate seeing the most iconic name Woodstock being drug in mud.Woodstock is only one of a lifetime.Lets keep it sacred such as the ground of Max yasgurs farm is to me.I could go on and on but it brings tears to my eyes.Seeing WOODSTOCK and talking to Wavey Gravey and Duke Devlin and playing in the mud was woostock.In words i heard from some others woodstock is losing its flavor.So with that lets leave woodstock live in our memories not our wallets.WOODSTOCK ,PEACE & LOVE forever to my hippy friends and all flower children.

  11. I was 17 years old when I attended the Woodstock Music Festival…. I have oddly mixed feelings about attending the 50th anniversary. I don’t want to taint the original experience with a redo…but I will probably go anyway…my husband is jealous that he didn’t go to Woodstock and wants to see where my memories were born…sigh!!!

    • The first time I visited the grounds at Woodstock the weekend August 15, 2001. My wife and I drove up with small bottles of wine , a french bread and some cheese . The field was mowed and there was a totem pole in the middle. There were no buildings at the time just the field and stone dust where the stage was . We parked on the road , opened my car doors and played the cd set of the concert. It was great. Since then I have been there2007 Hippie fest, 2009 40th anniversary Heroes of Woodstock, 2013 Richie havens memorial tribute, And 2014 re watched the movie Woodstock in the field. The field is still in it’s original state with the buildings way on top of the hill. By no means has it taken away from the original it has enhanced it . It’s beautiful. I already booked a room nearby for the weekend. By all means go see the grounds . It’s beautiful

  12. I was only 9 when the Woodstock Music and Art Festival took place, but I’ve always been fascinated by all it was and all it means! I have a son who’s now 22, and I’m thrilled that he’s obsessed with all music and culture from the 60s and 70s. He and his friends travel to music festivals all over the country, and I just surprised them by telling them about the 50th anniversary – AND told them that I have a rental home booked for us for the anniversary week that’s 10 minutes from Bethel Woods! They are over the moon ecstatic! They just graduated from college and have “real” jobs now, but my son and a friend just bought a small bus they’re renovating to take to festivals that they can DJ out of. You can be sure they (and I) will be in that bus listening to all the music from 1969 the whole way there! We eagerly await our trip and can’t wait to hear about the events that are being planned!

    • I know what you mean. I was there for the original Woodstock. I was 21. Love, love, love, despite the rain storms.
      I’m now 71 and thinking about attending this, but don’t want to be disappointed. So many of the original artist have passed on :`~{

      • Yes I was also worried about being disappointed about ruining our memories they should reach out to us the survivors

      • Hi I was also at that once ina lifetime festival and hope that anniversary pays justice

        • I agree. It seems that many people who plan to go did not go to the original. Are there any accommodations in the area? At the age of 70 with a bad hip, I don’t think I can sleep outside and trudge around the mud barefoot like I did at the original!!! I would love to go in principle, but I think I’ll preserve my tremendous memories as is. Peace.

  13. My wife and I visited Bethel Woods in 2015. We became members and it is one of the best things we did. We were not able to go because of our parents. I would recommend this venue for everyone to visit, even if it is once. Woodstock brought all type of people together for PEACE, LOVE AND MUSIC. We need more of that in this world. Bethel Woods is doing this with the music and being A National Historic Site. Can’t wait for 2019!!!!!!!!! We will be there.

  14. I was 17 years old that historical August working a summer job in Honesdale Pa. I was not aware of the concert @ the time, but started seeing a lot of hitchikers starting wednesday & by thursday i knew something big was up so i stopped & asked 2 girls where they were going. I could not get any of my friends to go. I have been a member of Bethel Woods since opening, I will NOT miss the 50th anniv.

    • The actual dates are Aug 15, 16, 17, and 18….but, there will be events and specials going on all Summer, 2019…for the Anniversary week, in addition to the Concerts and Live events, we are coordinating with the local towns for Lunch, dinner, and drink specials…so, guests can get a sampling of what our towns have to offer…www.fmlodge.com

  15. What are the dates in Aug. 2019 for the Woodstock shows? Need to make plans to be there..

  16. Attn: Wade Lawrence. [Do share this w/ Historian: Scott Parker.]

    Re: Joe Cocker and Band – Setting the Record Straight
    Percussionist/Conga Player – Bobby Torres – performed Woodstock w/ Joe Cocker. He is hardly credited … anywhere! Shame, shame ….

    Maybe it’s time to set the record straight, y’all ….

    Maybe best to interview him, as ‘Living History,’ for the Woodstock Joe Cocker blog and more. Of note: Mr. Torres is an active musician in the Portland, Oregon area, where he lives with his brilliant and talented family (of … musicians.).


    • Hi Ti. Sorry for the delay in responding. We haven’t posted the Joe Cocker blog post yet (it’s scheduled for early November), but our research definitely shows Bobby Torres as a member of The Grease Band at Woodstock, and it will be included in the blog post. Not sure where we have omitted him, but if you let us know, we’ll correct it.

  17. Woodstock, the single most profound event in the history of music. It was a ‘moment in time’ and the culmination of an era. It is the largest gathering of human beings in one place in history. The crowd reaching near a half million people sent a message to the world that individuals could come together peacefully to celebrate peace and music.

    The 50th anniversary should be a celebration of that era with music reminiscent to the actual event and the era. The event should be about the original attendants with opportunities to share their experiences. The music is key and should be prevalent to the original event and the era. My husband attended the original event. At the age of 18, He hitchhiked by himself from Long Island, all the way to the event. To this day, new stories still emerge. He can find himself in the crowd of people pictured on the covers of the Woodstock 25th Anniversary magazine, Life Magazine and others!

  18. I keep hearing that Santana has already signed on for the 50th celebration…..is the 50th celebration concert going to be at Bethel Woods? If so, when can we expect tickets to go on sale? I definitely want to be there and know that it is going to take planning. Will the dates coincide with the original concert dates?

  19. I was 16yrs old at the time and I was unable to attend. My boyfriend at the time and later my husband went. The stories he told me about the weekend were so amazing to hear.He said even though the weather sucked It was a time in his life he will NEVER FORGET! I am SO looking forward the the 50th Anniversary! I WILL BE THERE THIS TIME!!!

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